Seven school market specialized programs to attract students

Seven Beaufort County schools hope to recruit additional students with  specialized academic offerings designed to expand the number of school choice options for parents and fill up underutilized classroom space.

The Board of Education today recommended areas of curriculum focus for the seven schools, which will be responsible for developing and implementing their individual programs.

• Lady’s Island Elementary School Arts Infusion

•St. Helena Elementary School Language Immersion and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)

•Shanklin Elementary School Environmental Science

• Lady’s Island Middle School STEM (to include an AMES program—Advanced Mathematics, Engineering and Science)

• Robert Smalls Middle School STEM

• Whale Branch Middle School STEM

• Battery Creek High School Tri-Academies (Information Technology; Engineering; Military Science/Aviation; Arts & Humanities)

These sorts of “programmatic transfers” allow students to enroll in schools outside their zoned attendance areas.

The Board designated that through 2015, the programs in the seven targeted schools—all of which have student enrollments that put them between 50 percent and 74 percent of capacity—will be targeted for strong recruitment efforts by district and school leaders to encourage families to choose those schools.

Existing transfer options known as “general transfers” are not affected by the new recruitment efforts and will continue without change.

The Board also directed district administrators to develop more specific admissions criteria for “magnet programs” such as the popular AMES (Advanced Mathematics, Engineering and Science) programs at Beaufort and Pritchardville elementary schools, the new Montessori program at Beaufort Elementary and the technical college program at Whale Branch Early College High School.  Those criteria would include stipulations that continuing in a magnet program would depend on a student continuing to meet its academic and behavior expectations.

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